The European Working Group on Labour Law (EWL) is a scientific research network which includes the Law Departments of the Universities of Cassino, Castilla-La Mancha, Frankfurt (Oder), Leicester, Strasbourg and Utrecht. Its members focus on researching and teaching labour law at national, European and international level.
The EWL organises an annual conference for the training and development of graduate students. First, four students from each participating university present their written report on national law on the annual theme of the conference. The students are then divided into four groups comprising one representative of each participating university. Each group is given a comparative research question to explore culminating in a group presentation on the final day of the conference.
In recent years, the annual conference has concerned the themes of affirmative action (Cassino, 2007), the right to strike (Leicester, 2008), European Works Councils (Hannover, 2009), the rights of agency workers (Strasbourg, 2010), employment without contract (Utrecht, 2011), economic dismissal (Almagro, Castilla-La Mancha, 2012), pay (Cassino, 2013), reconciling work and family life (Leicester 2014), collective bargaining (Utrecht, 2015).
In April 2016, the annual conference took place in Strasbourg on the theme of working time. The Leicester team (see photo) was composed of Rebecca Edwards, Mauricio Hernandes, Emma Delaney (LLM Employment law by distance learning) and Rose Panumidipo (LLB final year students). In advance of the conference, the student team prepared a detailed national report on the law governing working time.
In addition to the annual conference for graduate students, the members of the network meet regularly to pursue research projects in the field of European Labour Law. To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the EWL a collection of essays was published: E Ales, T Jaspers, P Lorber, C Sachs-Durand, U Wendeling-Schröder (eds), Fundamental Social Rights in Europe: Challenges and Opportunities (Antwerp: Intersentia 2009). The group also published the results of a research project lead by Professor Edoardo Ales (Università di Cassino), Health and Safety at Work, European and Comparative Perspectives (Kluwer, 2013). Some members of the EWL are currently working on a project considering collective labour law in Europe in a comparative perspective (scope and some of the premiminary findings were presented at the Labour Law Research Conference in June 2015 in Amsterdam).